Cicadas set to invade Middle Tennessee in the next few years


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – If you step outside on a summer evening here in Middle Tennessee, there’s a good chance that you’ll be greeted by the buzzing of cicadas.

Cicadas are present every year, but some years there are a lot more of them and they’re a lot louder! That’s because there’s more than one type of cicada.

Adult Periodical Cicada

Annual cicadas are what you hear on a typical summer night. They have green bodies and black eyes and are most active during the evening and nighttime hours.

It’s the other type of cicada, the periodical cicada, that many dread. Periodical cicadas have life cycles of either 13 or 17 years. They come out in large groups called broods. 

Molting Cicada

Scientists have identified fifteen broods of cicadas, which are designated by different roman numerals. There are three 13-year cicada broods (XIX, XXII, and XXIII), and there are 12 17-year cicada broods (I-X, XIII, and XIV). These broods look a little different than the annual cicada that we see every year.

Instead of green bodies and black eyes, periodical cicadas have red eyes and can look especially frightening immediately after molting. 

Brood X is expected to re-emerge in 2021, but as you can see it’s mainly going to impact eastern Tennessee.

The next big brood that’s going to emerge in our area is Brood XIX, which if you were here in May of 2011, you probably remember. That brood makes its return in 2024.

Brood XIV last emerged in May 2008 and was present throughout much of Middle Tennessee. It is projected to re-emerge 2025.

Brood XXIII last emerged in May of 2015 and will be back in 2028 and mainly inhabits western Tennessee but some of our counties will be affected.

So get ready, in a few short years, the periodical cicadas will be back!

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